For most of us anime lovers, there exists a scene, or episode, that resonated with our soul. Whether it is that long-anticipated kiss, or the completely botched love confession, we all have our favorites.
For me, we’d have to rewind the anime clock back to 2008. Yeah, that’s right. Mine comes from a much older anime.
POTENTIAL SPOILERS REGARDING SKIP BEAT! PROCEED WITH CAUTION
My most memorable scene comes from Skip Beat!
This anime was released back in 2008. Our protagonist is Kyoko, a 16-year old girl in love with her childhood friend, Shotaro. Sho is destined to run his family’s inn, so to escape, he asks Kyoko to run away with him to Tokyo so he could pursue his dreams as a musician/idol. Because she is in love with Sho, she follows him to Tokyo. She works multiple jobs to support Sho while he works on becoming the seventh ranked idol in Japan. The more fame he gathered, the more he treated Kyoko like a doormat. While bringing him a snack to his agency, she overhears Sho complain to his female manager that Kyoko is pretty much no one to him, is his doormat, and that she is plain and boring. He continues to flirt with his manager and Kyoko snaps. Instead of being a crying victim, she declares revenge on Sho. Sho tells her that the only way she could get revenge is becoming a bigger star. Kyoko transforms herself and begins her journey of climbing up the showbiz ladder to prove Sho he misjudged her.
I connected with this anime because of Kyoko. Her personality is very much like mine. I very rarely…actually. I NEVER allow myself to be a victim. I’ve always been that way. So, it was refreshing to have a protagonist with as much drive, ambition, and fire to prove someone wrong. Finally. A female protagonist that doesn’t sit in a corner crying waiting for someone else to solve her problems. She is a strong, independent woman and she don’t need no man! I also loved that fact that the betrayal of Sho set her into action. Now, one might argue her reaction isn’t healthy, and that is what made me love Kyoko more. I loved that her passion ignited something within her to ACT. I loved that she was going to prove Sho wrong no matter what it took. That moved me. And, again. One might argue those aren’t exactly endearing qualities in a person, but it is to me.
The anime follows her journey to becoming an actress and it is filled with some hilarity. Determined to make Sho notice her, she joins the agency (I should say bullied her way into the agency) that is opposite of Sho’s. There, she begins to work with his rival, Ren. And, yes. You’ve guessed it. They slowly start to develop a more-than-friends relationship. So, intertwined in this anime is a plot for revenge, the evolution of Kyoko from doormat to strong, independent woman, and a love triangle. It really doesn’t get any better than that.
But, I digress. This just sets the scene for my most memorable scene in an anime. You’d have to watch Episodes 17, 18, and 19 of Skip Beat!
Kyoko actually gets hired to be Sho’s music video. She has altered her appearance so much that she is sure Sho won’t recognize who she is. However, her plan backfires when her actions betray her. She still can’t help herself from mothering Sho and he catches on. He plays a trick on her which exposes who she is. Despite finding out who she is, Sho doesn’t fire her. In fact, he challenges her to convince him that she’s changed. Fired up from this challenge, Kyoko gives it all she’s got. While she is still new to acting, those around her know that she is a forced to be reckoned with. Sho’s manager even warns him. She is going to swallow you whole if you don’t be careful.
In the video, the concept is Sho is a devil. Kyoko is cast as one of two angels. Sho’s current girl toy is cast as the second angel who plays Kyoko’s “friend”. The second angel, Kyoko’s “friend”, falls in love with the devil. Fearing that her friend is being deceived and corrupted by this devil’s love, Kyoko’s character is willing to commit the ultimate sin to free her friend.
When Kyoko is finally in makeup, she shocks Sho. He can’t believe the sight in front of him. Even the director is amazed by Kyoko’s transformation. Kyoko approaches Sho with evil intent in her eyes, kicks Sho in the shin, grabs him by the collar, and proclaims that the innocent girl he took advantage of doesn’t exist. She glares at him looking into the depths of his soul and declares, “I’ll make you wish that you were dead.”
I felt the voice actress’s performance. I really did. I was also cheering for Kyoko for being able to talk down to him after everything he’s done to her. Even the director of the video was taken aback stating something along the lines of never seeing an angel turn into a devil before her eyes.
But, wait! There’s more!
As the episode continues, Kyoko is still new to acting, and thus struggles to find her motivation. She specifically struggles to not truly strangle Sho in her scene. After a break and a call to her friend, she’s given the right scenario to invoke the feelings she needs to convey. Mustering up what she can, in the final scene she is supposed to push Sho off a tower. Sho is supposed to fall, closing his eyes, and resigning to his fate. Using the motivation her friend gave her, Kyoko begins to sincerely cry as she approaches Sho. Sho, knowing that Kyoko never cries unless she is in terrible pain, forgets what he is supposed to do in the moment. As children, Kyoko had decided to never cry in front of Sho because he didn’t know how to console her. Instead of falling with his eyes closed, Sho maintains eye contact with Kyoko as he falls. It ruins the scene. As the director tells one of the staff, it looks like Sho is in love with the wrong angel.
With the drama of Kyoko “finding her acting voice” and the drama of Kyoko finally being able to put a dent in Sho’s armor, those three episodes have to be one of my favorite, if not my favorite, scene amongst all anime.